A memorial dedicated to Korean women forced into sex slavery by the Japanese military during World War II was recently vandalized in Glendale, California.
The Comfort Women Peace Monument, situated in Glendale Central Park, was smeared with an unknown substance, according to investigators. Several flower pots around the memorial were also shattered.
Local authorities are now searching for potential suspects responsible for the vandalism which happened early Thursday morning.
This was reportedly the fourth time the monument was vandalized in the last month alone, CBS reports.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact the Glendale Police Department.
On Saturday, several local members of both the Korean and Japanese communities went to the memorial to express outrage toward the vandalism, reported ABC.
“We were extremely saddened and extremely shocked to learn that this has happened. The message is that this is not acceptable and that we want to make sure that this does not happen again,” Korean American Forum’s Phyllis Kim was quoted as saying.
Former Congressman Mike Honda also condemned the defacement.
“The kind of criminal act that was perpetrated on this statue is a strike against the symbol that this memorial represents,” he said.
The statue shows a young Korean girl in a hanbok next to an empty chair, an image that pays respect to the estimated 200,000 women who were forced into brothels to serve Japanese men during the war. Installed back in 2013, the memorial faced a lawsuit from opponents who aimed to have it removed but they were unsuccessful in their attempts.
Featured image via YouTube/CBS Los Angeles